How to manage payment defaults best – 5 trends companies should be aware of for 2023

The vast majority of CFOs expect the economic situation in Germany and the eurozone to deteriorate further in 2023. This is because various factors are coming together: the ongoing war in Ukraine, the accompanying skyrocketing energy prices, high inflation, a turnaround in monetary policy and economic weaknesses in the USA and China. All together, this points to an economic slowdown and presents companies with particularly significant challenges. CFOs expect inflation to remain high for longer, at 7.1 per cent in 2023 and 4.8 per cent in 2024. (Deloitte 2022 CFO Autumn Survey). In view of this, it is more important than ever to anticipate liquidity bottlenecks in good time and to identify default risks due to non-payment by customers at an early stage. In line with this, real-time cash flow transparency is also a must for three out of five finance executives for the year 2023 (BlackLine Survey) – not least in order to manage payment defaults. To navigate through the year with foresight and efficiency, finance teams and finance decision-makers should learn about the potential of new approaches to receivables management now and be aware of the trends for 2023. 

5 Trends for 2023

Trend #1 – Personalisation through behavioural science.

According to the Debtor Atlas 2022 (Schuldner-Atlas), almost 5.9 million people in Germany over the age of 18 are over-indebted and have long-term payment problems (Creditreform 2022). Findings from modern behavioural research help to successfully and efficiently find an out-of-court solution in debt collection. Whether and how quickly someone pays depends on many different factors, including psychological ones, which must be taken into account in the communication process. With the help of impulses, so-called nudging, and by addressing individual types of debtors differently, the recovery rate can be significantly increased. The key here is personalised communication, which continues to be an important trend in customer relationship management and can be optimised with new findings from behavioural research.

Trend #2 – Artificial intelligence in debt collection.

Although the global market for artificial intelligence is worth $328 billion according to Statista, only 25% of companies worldwide have used AI-based systems since 2022. Yet AI is on everyone’s lips, not least thanks to groundbreaking tools like ChatGPT. By 2023, the majority of top companies and more payment service providers are expected to invest in AI. For the past few years, the use of AI has also been transforming the collections industry, allowing finance teams to have their company’s receivables attributed digitally, efficiently and in a customer-focused way, especially when combined with behavioural analytics and data science. How it works? The AI assigns each customer to a typology based on various data and automatically sets the appropriate actions in motion in a targeted manner. The algorithm gets to know the customers better bit by bit during communication with them and adapts the strategy applied in an agile manner. This contributes to more customers paying faster and at all.

Trend #3 – Self-determined payments.

More and more end customers attach importance to being able to pay online in a self-determined way. They want to be able to choose both the payment method and the time of payment themselves. This can be seen, among other things, in the popularity of the Buy now, pay later (BNPL) payment option. The global BNPL market is expected to reach USD 576 billion by 2026, according to Statista. Additionally, payments will increasingly be made with QR code and virtual credit cards (VCCs) in 2023. As a company, offering a wide selection of payment methods is also crucial for conversion. If, for example, the customer’s preferred payment method is not offered at the checkout, they may cancel the payment process altogether. Payment selection options also contribute to a pleasant customer experience in receivables management. The selection offered can be personally tailored to the customer’s user behaviour with the help of data analyses. In addition, the likelihood that an outstanding debt will be settled quickly increases if the recipient can decide for themself whether to pay the amount in full immediately or in monthly instalments.

Trend #4 – Compliance and data security for precaution.

Cybersecurity losses may reach a total of $10.5 trillion by 2025, according to a 2020 report (Argus Research). Clear internal compliance policies, regulatory adherence and data security processes help companies protect themselves from data theft, reputational damage and more. In 2023, it is more important than ever to take precautions. In the event of a data leak, everyone should know which process to follow. Since the handling of sensitive customer data is part of daily business in debt collection and receivables management, finance teams should focus on security here. Not only in their own company, but also when choosing external service providers. For example, ISO 27001 certification is an indication of independently audited information security management by collection service providers. If a provider bears this mark, it has introduced an information security management system, ISMS for short, whose aim is to identify and close data and IT system vulnerabilities. Existing risks are identified in the course of several ISO audits, examined and remedied by security measures. This minimises security risks. 

Trend #5 – Cross-generational digital-first customer communication.

Whether Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials or Gen Z, the smartphone has become a cross-generational everyday companion. Studies show that the two most distant generations (Baby Boomers vs. Gen Z) are not as far apart in smartphone use as one might assume based on the age difference. According to a survey of over 3,000 US Americans, 84% of those over 50 regularly use a smartphone (Aarp). Among teenagers in America between the ages of 13 and 17, the figure is 95% (Pew Research Center Survey). In addition, screen time has increased sustainably due to the Corona pandemic. According to a representative Bitkom Research Survey in Germany, respondents spend an average of 10 hours of screen time per day and 70 hours per week. Where consumers are active, payments also take place. Therefore, companies should know where they can reach people of different generations. Not least when customers do not pay and need to be reached. Modern debt collection therefore relies on new communication channels such as Whatsapp, email and SMS.

PAIR Finance is the digital debt collection that offers you efficiency and customer focus.

Personalised communication with your customers

Based on a unique combination of AI, machine learning and behavioural science, PAIR Finance, the innovative fintech for AI-based debt collection, varies its communication strategy based on six levels: channel, style, tone, timing, frequency and solution. This results in more than 30,000 different communication options, which are tailored to the respective recipient with the help of natural language processing and text analysis.

Various payment options

Your clients can choose their own payment process with PAIR Finance, from Apple Pay to payment by instalments. This way, your claim can be repaid 100% digitally and conveniently via our payment page, and you can see all changes in real time in our client portal.

Security through ISO-certification

We are ISO-certified. In 2022, PAIR Finance received ISO certification from TÜV-Rheinland for its information security management system (ISMS) for the first time. The sensitive data of your customers as well as your own data are optimally protected.

Modern communication channels

PAIR Finance takes an omnichannel approach to the debt collection process, enabling a cross-device user experience for all consumers – no matter what age group your target group is. Our messaging via channels such as email, SMS or Whatsapp is tailored to each recipient and reaches them where they are active and when they are active.

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